Is It Time to Be Brave?

4892486681_f4ce81643d_nToday’s post is going to be a bit of a departure from the theme of coping with illness and self-care that has been developing in the last month.  I am feeling a pull to write about something a bit different today.  This post was inspired by a combination of things.  First of all, the post from Marie Ennis O’Connor about “when it is time to quit?” led me to review my own posts about when quitting is healthy. So I was already in the mindset of thinking about healthy change.  Then I had several conversations with people who are facing big changes.

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.–Alan Cohen

These conversations were with clients and family members.  They were about all kinds of issues–a move, changes in families, changes in jobs, etc.  But one theme kept coming through loud and clear.  All week long, I have heard people say:

“I am so scared to do this.  What if I am making a mistake?”

I think those two sentences pretty accurately capture the way that most of us feel when we are facing change.  Whether the change is forced on us or of our own choice, change feels pretty scary.  We know how to do things in our normal routine.  Even if some of those things aren’t entirely healthy, they are familiar.  There is a comfort in familiarity, even if it is also painful.  Because of that, many people choose to stay in jobs, relationships, behavior patterns, etc. that are less than what they really want and need.  We put off change.

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny. ― Paulo Coelho

I’d like this post to be interactive, so I’m going to ask you to take a moment and think about a part of your life where you may have been postponing change.  Maybe your self-talk has sounded like this:

  • Now isn’t the right time.
  • I don’t know exactly what I will do next.
  • What if this is a mistake?
  • What will my mom/partner/friends/boss think about me?
  • I’m not sure this is responsible.
  • I don’t know if this is fair to others around me.
  • I’m scared.

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for. ― William G.T. Shedd

If any of that sounds familiar, you may be in a place where it is time to be brave.  Because if we are not growing, we are stuck.  And stagnation might give the illusion of safety for a little while, but ultimately, it comes at a big cost.  While William Shedd was talking about boats, he could have been talking about us as well.  We are intended to grow and change–even when that is scary.

So, if that sounds familiar to you, I am inviting you to take a first step toward brave action in your life.  What can you do today, this week, and this month to begin to move toward a healthy change that you’ve been afraid of?

In the comments, please feel free to share your plans to act–I’d love to support you in your moment of bravery!


Image Credit: Photo by shorts and longs via Flicker under Creative Commons License

12 thoughts on “Is It Time to Be Brave?

  1. My tip for overcoming the fear of failure came from a book I recently picked up called, “Turning Pro.” There’s a great anecdote about Roseanne Cash and her epiphany of being a ‘dilettante.’

    It’s just that powerful, though everyone needs to find that spark that motivates them.

    In the end–there’s so much opportunity and too many (self-imposed) closed doors.

    Lovely post, Ann! Thank you.

  2. For me, jumping back into private practice was a time to be brave. In retrospect the timing was perfect (it didn’t feel that way at the time) and I wasn’t sure how things would go. That doen’t mean it has been easy, but it was a time for me to be brave. And, I’m glad I made that choice.

  3. I feel like I’m jumping off a cliff on a daily basis. And re-reading that sentence, maybe I should reframe that to say, “taking a brave leap into the future!” Specifically, I can think of a couple of phone calls I’ve made and emails I’ve sent in recent days that have taken a significant amount of bravery and vulnerability to put out into the world. Right now, I’m just tired. I hope the bravery pays off.

    1. Rachelle,

      Kobi Yamada is credited with saying “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” I clung to that quote throughout the first several years of my practice and still return to it when I feel afraid of the risks I’ve taken. You are brave.


  4. I can’t think of any big changes I’m avoiding, but I do think that continuing to have faith in my private practice, to believe that it’s what I’m meant to do and that it will continue to grow if I keep plugging away at it requires constant reassessment and recommittment. It’s always really interesting to ask clients what they’d really do if money, time, etc. weren’t obstacles. Usually, their answers point to where they need to go.

  5. Hi Ann! This week, I will take a step forward. I will outline a plan and make progress! 2013 has already been a busy year of change for my family. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, sometimes it’s really exciting. Thanks for this post!

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